As a partner to Amazon, Northern Virginia (NOVA) brings several distinctive, high-impact assets to the table
- North America's top producer of tech talent. Greater Washington is the country’s most educated region (~49% of those 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree), and it produces more computer science graduates than any other metropolitan area. The region also has a ready base of talent, with the country’s third-largest pool of software developers and fourth-largest pool of management and legal professionals. The combination of depth, concentration, and growth of talent available in the Washington, D.C. metro area, with additional tech talent production from Virginia’s world-class higher education system, will ensure NOVA maintains and enhances its edge with access to the best and brightest.
- A global and inclusive region... Greater Washington is a global power center, the capital of global democracy, and one of the country's most racially, ethnically, and internationally diverse regions. Women are twice as likely, and African Americans five times as likely, to work in the technology sector in NOVA than in Silicon Valley. Approximately one in four of its residents was born outside the United States, and the children in NOVA schools speak ~100 native languages. Communities in NOVA are ranked among the most LGBTQ-friendly nationwide, and diversity is one the region’s core strengths.
- ...on a human scale. NOVA offers something for everyone, with access to some of the country's most interesting cultural and historical sites, sports teams in all major leagues, and a dynamic food and wine scene. The area is home to a broad range of outdoor activities, from kayaking on the Potomac to hiking in the nearby Shenandoah National Park, all as part of a mild four-season climate. The region offers a diversity of housing options, some of the country’s top-ranked public schools, and one of the country’s top-rated public transit systems.
- The leading metro for public and private sector innovation. Innovation is in Greater Washington's lifeblood. The region's legacy of transformative technologies transcends sectors, from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) role in inventing the internet and voice-recognition systems; to public/private collaboration to create more than 70 miles of automated corridors for connected and autonomous vehicle testing; to the region’s history as the foundation of the telecom revolution and our current depth of technology companies; and to the National Science Foundation (NSF) whose grant funding through the Digital Library Initiative supported the research and eventual foundation of Google, Inc.— Greater Washington sits uniquely at the nexus of public and private innovation.
- A stable and competitive partner with a legacy of exceptional governance. Virginia is consistently rated among the best states in which to do business by leading publications, and Northern Virginia local governments are well-managed, have a history of visionary leadership, and a commitment to innovation. Of all the Fortune 500 companies based in the greater D.C. area, two-thirds have chosen to locate in NOVA. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Virginia as the No. 2 best state for governance, considering fiscal stability, budget transparency, and state integrity.
- A new model of economic development for the 21st century. Virginia's partnership proposal was customized to match the scale of Amazon’s ambition and designed to support shared growth over the long term. While the package includes a competitive, performance-based incentive offering, it focuses primarily on strategic new investments in public assets that would benefit companies and citizens across Virginia. Get more information about the package.
When Amazon released its RFP in September 2017, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) collaborated with economic developers in Greater Richmond, Hampton Roads, and Northern Virginia to develop regional proposals for HQ2. With matching funds authorized by then Governor Terry McAuliffe, each region contributed financially and substantively to the research, content development, design, and execution of the proposals.
Northern Virginia's Unprecedented Collaboration
In Northern Virginia, the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Loudoun County chose to partner to respond as a region. This unprecedented collaboration amongst the four jurisdictions resulted in the creation of significant new data and assets that the communities used for the HQ2 pitch, and have continued to utilize in their ongoing economic development efforts.
A Site Positioned for Growth: National Landing
While all of the sites proposed met and exceeded Amazon’s criteria, ultimately Amazon selected National Landing as the location for their new headquarters campus. Jointly proposed by Arlington and Alexandria and comprised of the neighborhoods of Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard, National Landing is designed to foster partnership between the two jurisdictions and enable a seamless, mixed-use (business and residential) corridor.
National Landing sits at the heart of the D.C. metro, a vibrant and growing destination for both companies and residents. The region is home to roughly 400 million square feet of office space, including 40 million in Arlington and 22 million in Alexandria. Currently, the two jurisdictions combined have 11 million square feet of office vacancy with community-approved plans in place for substantial additional growth in approved districts. In short, National Landing is well-positioned to absorb the size and scale of HQ NOVA.
Arlington and Alexandria's Pragmatic Approach
In Arlington and Alexandria, economic development leaders first evaluated the company’s space and jobs requirements, comparing those with their individual and combined assets (e.g., highly-educated workforce, existing extensive infrastructure, and amenity-filled business districts) as well as adopted long-term growth plans that emphasize transit-oriented nodes. After completing that evaluation, they determined that Amazon's second headquarters would be an ideal fit for their communities.
Residents of Alexandria and Arlington both rely on community-approved growth plans that guide economic development efforts to retain, expand, and attract companies to the area. These plans for the areas that comprise National Landing call for transit-oriented, walkable, mixed-use urban environments, and they envision considerably more growth than HQ2 requires.
In Alexandria, Small Area Plans are developed in partnership with the community and the City. These plans are used when proposing development for any growth when developing the City's long-term capital investment plans, and they represent the foundation of our effort to recruit this project.
In Arlington, the approved 10-year Capital Improvement Plan, specific neighborhood sector plans, and the approved site and phased development plans for projects like Metropolitan Park and Pen Place have guided the proposals to Amazon. These plans incorporate new green spaces and parks; enable a new transportation system connecting Pentagon City, Crystal City, Alexandria, and Columbia Pike; and require adherence to sustainable green building principles.
From the outset, Virginia was committed to match the scale and structure of its financial commitments for HQ NOVA with the ambition of the project through a combination of performance-based incentives and investments in state and regional competitiveness that will benefit tech firms and corporate headquarters located across the Commonwealth.
While Virginia’s proposed package includes a competitive, performance-based incentive offering, it primarily focuses on strategic new investments in public assets that will benefit companies and citizens across Virginia.
The Commonwealth’s Proposal Consists of Three Components
1. Doubling Virginia’s Tech-Talent
The foundation of the Commonwealth’s pitch for Amazon’s headquarters is a statewide, performance-based investment program to double the annual number of graduates with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science and closely-related fields, ultimately yielding 25,000 to 35,000 additional graduates over the next two decades in excess of current levels. This program will benefit tech employers across Virginia.
As part of the Commonwealth’s proposal to Amazon, Virginia will:
- Make performance-based investments in bachelor’s degree programs in computer science and closely related fields that will be distributed statewide based upon a negotiated agreement with each public university or community college that wishes to participate
- Make performance-based investments of up to $375 million over 20 years for new master’s degree programs in computer science and closely related fields at George Mason’s Arlington campus and for Virginia Tech to establish a new Innovation Campus in Alexandria, both of which are subject to a 1-to-1 match from the universities with philanthropic funds
- Invest $50 million over 20 years in K-12 tech education and internship programming to connect higher ed students to tech jobs
2. Regional Transportation
Subject to HQ2 job-creation performance, the Commonwealth has committed up to $195 million (for 25,000 jobs) to invest in transportation projects that will provide robust, multi-modal connections between National Landing and the regional transportation system. Planned projects for state support include additional entrances to the Metro stations at Crystal City and Potomac Yard, improvements to Route 1, a connector bridge from Crystal City to Washington National Airport, and a transitway expansion supporting Pentagon City, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard. These state investments are in addition to significant investments being made by Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. These projects will be effectively funded with resources that could not otherwise be used anywhere outside of northern Virginia. More information about the transportation projects being planned for National Landing can be found here.
3. Post-Performance Incentives While Virginia’s proposal primarily focused on new investments in public assets that would benefit companies and citizens across Virginia (in particular, doubling Virginia’s tech-talent pipeline), it also includes a performance-based incentive offering, with annual incentive payments to be made only after the company has produced new, qualifying jobs.
Subject to General Assembly approval, the Commonwealth will provide post-performance incentives to Amazon that will be paid annually based on job creation and wage levels, with minimum average wages of at least $150,000, plus benefits, escalated at 1.5% annually. The company will be eligible to receive up to $550 million in incentives if it creates 25,000 qualifying jobs (i.e., $22,000 per new job). Up to $200 million in additional company incentives (for a cumulative total of $750 million) is available if the company were to create a total of 37,850 qualifying jobs within 20 years (i.e., $15,564 per new job in excess of 25,000 jobs, up to 37,850 jobs).
Arlington and Alexandria have proposed primarily investing in community assets that would improve the livability of their communities while supporting the additional growth that HQ NOVA would bring. The two jurisdictions collaborated to create a world-class proposal that provides direct value to Amazon and enriches the community with the long-term assets that residents and businesses value.
Arlington County's Proposal
For competitive reasons and to protect confidential company information, the proposal components have been confidential until the announcement. As with all incentive projects, now that the project has been announced, the County will move forward with drafting the formal agreement which defines the performance terms. This agreement will then be brought before the County Board for consideration at a public County Board Meeting, no earlier than 2019. Subject to approval, the performance agreement will be signed by Amazon, the County, and the Arlington County Industrial Development Authority.
Arlington's proposed package includes 95% of the total consisting of investments in affordable housing and infrastructure as adopted by the Board as part of the County’s Capital Improvement program (CIP) process, and 5% of proposed direct pay for performance financial incentives will come from taxes paid by tourists and business travelers on hotel rooms or other paid lodging.
The proposal consists of three components:
1. Investments in the Site and Market
As a smart growth community, Arlington County will invest $360 million ($222MM of committed funding and $137MM in pending and future grants) in transportation projects to serve the Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard neighborhoods within National Landing. These are designed to further enhance the site to ensure that development, transportation, public open space and features work in concert to achieve high-quality placemaking and a vibrant urban place. Arlington's transportation investments were approved in the County's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Additional details about new investments in transportation at National Landing can be found here.
Arlington has projected $7 million per year of new commitments towards the implantation of 1,000 affordable housing units (100 per year for 10 years) in and around Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Columbia Pike areas, which would directly benefit the immediate neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site. This proposed level of investment is based on both the average annual affordable housing investment over the past decade in these areas and the anticipated proportion of the area’s housing growth as a share of housing in the County over the next 10 years. Additional details about housing can be found here.
Strategic Investments in Proximity
to National Landing
Arlington County proposed using a portion of new incremental revenue generated by Amazon's arrival within the existing TIF (Tax Increment Financing) area that covers Crystal City, Potomac Yard, and Pentagon City to make strategic infrastructure investments in and around National Landing.
2. Direct Benefit to Amazon
Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)
Arlington's proposed direct financial incentive to Amazon is an annual pay-for-performance grant tied to the company meeting office occupancy targets. No money currently assigned for community priorities like transportation, housing, and infrastructure will be used. The incentive would come from a percentage of the new incremental revenue generated by the County’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), which is a tax paid by tourists and business travelers on hotel rooms or other paid lodging. Amazon is expected to generate significant additional TOT revenue from business-related travelers who will stay in Arlington to do business with the company. Over the 15-year performance period, the County estimates the grants will be worth a total of $23 million.
Depending on what business units are located at HQ NOVA, Amazon may be eligible for Arlington County's existing Technology Zone incentive which provides at least a 50% reduction in the Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) tax rate for up to 10 years. The Technology Zone incentive is available to qualified technology companies as defined in the Arlington County Code. Companies must apply and be deemed eligible by the Arlington County office of the Commissioner of Revenue to receive the benefit.
3. Benefits to Amazon Employees
As Arlington offers to economic development attraction projects, the County offered to provide a variety of in-kind relocation and acclamation support services to help Amazon employees who may be relocating to our region. Services included:
- Branded orientation website
- Area familiarization materials and tours
- On-site resource center and materials
- Transportation and community assistance through Arlington Transportation Partners
- Employee welcome celebration
The City of Alexandria's Proposal
Alexandria's portion of the partnership package consists of investments in transportation solutions, housing investments and possible financial participation in Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus. The City entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Virginia Tech acknowledging that the creation of the Innovation Campus in Alexandria is a key element in positioning National Landing as the location for Amazon’s HQ2, and laying out a framework for collaborating.
1. Investments in the Site and Market
Alexandria will invest $330 million in transportation projects to serve and enhance the connectivity of the Potomac Yard neighborhoods within National Landing. These new investments will supplement existing infrastructure to ensure seamless movement throughout the site. Additional details about new investments in transportation at National Landing can be found here.
As a result of this project, Alexandria is committing at least $1 million more per year from funding attributed to new revenue growth, over and above current funding levels of $7 million per year for affordable housing. These new investments will be spent on the creation and protection of affordable and workforce housing for a total investment of $8 million per year for the next 10 years. Additional details about housing can be found here.
2. Investments in Virginia Tech’s New Innovation Campus
Through the executed MOU, Alexandria agreed to consider financial incentives or participation in Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus project, and actively pursue state and other available incentives to defray the costs of developing and constructing the project.
Foregoing Real Estate Tax
The most likely form of participation will be the foregoing of real estate tax revenues on a portion of the Innovation Campus, Phase 1 of which is expected to consist of 1 million square feet of mixed use development to include academic facilities owned by Virginia Tech and supporting uses such as housing, commercial space for companies and entrepreneurs, and retail establishments that will all be privately owned. Virginia Tech is a state university, and is not subject to local real estate taxes. As such, the City will forego real estate tax revenues on any property owned directly by Virginia Tech within the Innovation Campus development site. Based on ownership plans outlined in the MOU, the expected value of the annual revenue the city will forego is estimated to be $1 million once full buildout is achieved.
Tax Exempt Bond
Another tool the City and Virginia Tech will explore is the use of tax exempt bond financing through the City's Industrial Development Authority as a way to reduce costs associated with financing the construction of buildings owned by the university.
The City may also consider direct financial contributions after a final site in Alexandria is secured and planned, and after the fiscal and financial details of the project are analyzed. If direct City financial participation is proposed, as with all incentive projects, the City will draft a formal agreement which defines the performance terms. This agreement would then be brought before City Council for consideration at a public City Council Meeting, likely in early 2019. An approved performance agreement would be signed by Virginia Tech, the City or a related entity, and potentially a property owner/developer.
The City has also proposed to work with Virginia Tech and a developer to accommodate an Expedited Development review schedule, in recognition that the new Innovation Campus will play an important role in supporting the development of our tech talent pipeline.
Northern Virginia has one of America's most robust multimodal transportation systems, which includes services such as Metrorail, regional rail (Virginia Railway Express), regional bus, local bus, express bus and bus rapid transit, longer-distance commuter bus, vanpool, slugging (casual carpooling), and bikeshare.
The Commonwealth's Significant New Investments in Transportation Throughout NOVA
Looking forward, Northern Virginia already has several funding sources dedicated to continually supporting a growing economy and expanding options for commuting and travel. These sources add up to approximately $15 billion in improvements currently planned and funded over the next six years, including investments in highways, transit, rail, and airports. In the longer term, the metro area’s Constrained Long-Range Plan identifies an additional $14 billion in capital improvements to Northern Virginia’s highway, rail, and transit systems to be programmed in the remaining years through 2030 — making Northern Virginia the largest recipient of transportation investment in the entire D.C. metro over the next 12 years.
National Landing's Robust Existing Transportation Network
Arlington and Alexandria jointly offered National Landing for this project based on extensive long-term planning initiated over 10 years ago. These planning efforts envision a seamless corridor connected by a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation network with extensive amenities such as retail, parks, and open spaces, as well as a variety of multi-family housing.
National Landing currently has the foundation of a robust transportation network which provides commuters and residents access to bike trails, Metro, bus rapid transit lines, and a Virginia Railway Express station. These existing transit systems, specifically Metrorail and the Metro and ART bus systems, have significant unused capacity even during peak travel periods. Amazon has an organizational culture of multimodal comminuting and active transportation for intra-campus trips. Significant numbers of Amazon HQ NOVA employees are expected to commute via transit (Metro, commuter rail, or bus), and many will also walk or utilize bike share.
New Transportation Investments For National Landing
To enhance the networks already in place, significant investments in new transportation projects will be made in and around National Landing.
New state investments of up to $195 million (for 25,000 jobs) will fund the following projects:
- New Crystal City Metrorail Station East Entrance
- Construction of Southwest Entrance at the new Potomac Yard Metro
- Pedestrian Connector Bridge from Crystal City to National Airport
- Route 1 improvements in Arlington County
- Transitway Expansions throughout National Landing
Arlington and Alexandria have committed an additional $570 million collectively in three categories:
- Rail and Gateway Connections
- Surface Transit Facilities and Service Expansion
- Multi-modal Street/Corridor Connectivity Investments
Arlington's transportation investments were approved by the County Board as part of its Capital Improvement Plan. To learn more about the transportation investments being made at National Landing, click here.
The D.C. metro, and NOVA in particular, is well-positioned to absorb the new and relocating Amazon workforce that will choose to live in one of the 2.3 million existing or more than 100,000 planned new residential housing units throughout the metro area.
In Northern Virginia, over 115,000 new units are currently in the development pipeline.
- Approximately 18,000 of these planned units are already under construction
- Approximately 60,000 units have been approved
- Approximately 40,000 are proposed and currently undergoing development review
In Arlington and Alexandria, 4,000 and 3,800 residential units are under construction respectively.
Innovative Regional Solutions for Affordable Housing
In 2017, Alexandria, Arlington and VHDA initiated discussions about how Northern Virginia could expand the range of housing options available in their growing communities, including supplies of affordable, workforce and market rate homes, and including rental and ownership units. These efforts were expanded to include partners in Washington, D.C. once both NOVA and Washington, D.C. were chosen among the 20 finalists for the project in early 2018.
Recognizing the transformative nature of this project, leaders from the region's economic development, housing, nonprofit development, business and finance sectors are examining how to focus and intensify collective regional affordable housing initiatives to enhance long-term comprehensive strategies to meet identified needs and ensure a sufficient supply of affordable housing for future residents and workers. The discussions focus on four key areas:
- Review of existing housing production and preservation targets and establishment of new goals that reflect potential future economic development opportunities
- Allocation of how and where new housing development might occur, including products that accommodate a socially and economically diverse workforce
- Identification of tools and funding, including private capital and other investment, as well as potential local resources, dedicated to meet anticipated housing goals incorporating projected economic growth
- Consideration of revisions to local policies and processes that inhibit development to stimulate production beyond planned levels
The group is finalizing a more formal framework that will create a new regional funding mechanism, supported by the private sector, local jurisdictions, and the state/district. Founding members of the effort are:
- Arlington County
- City of Alexandria
- District of Columbia
- Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
- Greater Washington Partnership
- Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA)
- Washington Housing Initiative
Once the mechanics of this regional solution are further defined, other expected partners include other Northern Virginia localities, the state of Maryland, and Maryland localities, as well as nonprofit and private developers.
As the region-wide effort continues to take shape, several regional groups are collaborating to address the growing demands for affordable housing throughout the metro, and new investments are planned as a result of HQ NOVA.
Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Commit to New Affordable Housing Initiatives
In a letter dated March 1, 2018, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. made several commitments to Amazon to address affordable housing in the metro:
- Work with Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac to develop a new regional initiative;
- Increase the production of affordable housing through the use of federally-allocated Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC);
- Provide additional funds for affordable housing to buy down interest rates or for grant programs, including grant funds for pre-development activity;
- Pledge more tax-exempt bond allocation for affordable housing; and
- Target and implement programs to preserve affordable housing, including funding through sources such as social impact bonds.
VHDA Affordable Housing Initiatives
The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) is currently making significant investments to address the affordable housing challenges in Northern Virginia.
- Rental Program: $300 million per year resulting in 2,500 new units annually
- Homeownership Loan Program: $600 million per year resulting in 2,100 units annually, as well as continuation of support to discount interest rates, etc. to increase access among income eligible first time homebuyers.
As a result of HQ NOVA, VHDA has proposed expanding its rental program, making additional investments in the Homeownership Loan program, and/or utilizing a private activity bond cap for affordable rental housing in NOVA. Additional allocations of REACH funds to increase housing production are also proposed.
Local Funding for Affordable Housing
Both Arlington County and the City of Alexandria have also committed to fund affordable housing relying on revenues generated from Amazon’s presence in their communities.
Arlington has projected $7 million per year of new commitments towards the implementation of 1,000 affordable housing units (100 per year for 10 years) in and around Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Columbia Pike areas, which would directly benefit the immediate neighborhoods surrounding the proposed site. This proposed level of investment is based on both the County's average annual affordable housing investment over the past decade in these areas and the anticipated proportion of the area's housing growth as a share of housing in the County over the next 10 years.
In 2018, the City of Alexandria created a dedicated funding source that will generate an additional $5 million per year above its existing investment of approximately $2 million annually for affordable housing (along with developer contributions to a local housing trust fund). As a result of this project, Alexandria plans to commit at least $1 million more per year, from funding attributed to new revenue growth which could be spent on the creation and protection of affordable and workforce housing. Alexandria's planned total investment of $8 million per year for the next 10 years will result in 1,000-1,400 or more new units based on its past experience and anticipated new opportunities to increase leverage of non-City funds.
The Washington Housing Initiative Launched to Bring New Resources to the Region
JBG SMITH Properties, and the Federal City Council, a non-profit comprising the area’s top business, professional, educational, and civic leaders, announced the launch of the Washington Housing Initiative, a transformational, market-driven approach to create and preserve affordable workforce housing in the Washington, D.C. region over the next decade.
The initiative brings together capital from private and philanthropic sources to preserve or build affordable workforce housing in mixed-income communities. These efforts are aimed at increasing the availability of housing for working families and improving neighborhood services.
Two components comprise the Washington Housing Initiative:
- The Washington Housing Conservancy, a new non-profit created to acquire, develop, own, and operate workforce housing in High-Impact Locations (i.e., rapidly-growing, still affordable areas predicted to become less so in 5-10 years). The Washington Housing Conservancy is led by an independent Board of Trustees comprised of some of the region's foremost real estate and nonprofit leaders.
- The Impact Pool, an investment vehicle aimed at providing capital for the acquisition and development of affordable workforce housing in High-Impact Locations
The initiative expects to source external capital to preserve or build between 2,000 and 3,000 units of affordable workforce housing in metro Washington over the next decade. JBG SMITH has developed a plan to potentially consider expanding the scale of the Washington Housing Initiative to align with new local commitments to increase support for affordable workforce housing.
The region's K-12 pipeline is among the best in the country, and high-quality universities have been rapidly expanding over the last few years to meet the needs of the growing tech sector. New investments in both K-12 and higher education are being committed as a component of this project and will ensure that our school systems and higher education institutions will accelerate their growth plans to meet the needs of not only Amazon, but employers throughout Virginia.
Virginia's Commitments to K-12 STEM
Virginia led the nation by adopting computer science standards across the K-12 continuum, and the Commonwealth is continuing to equip teachers with resources to implement them effectively. In order to meet the growing needs of Amazon and other high-tech employers, additional investments will be made to bring high-quality STEM and computer science teaching and learning to scale.
Over the next 20 years, Virginia will invest $25 million in the K-12 STEM and computer science experience for students and teachers. This investment will enable the Commonwealth to:
- provide ongoing professional development to current and future teachers;
- create, curate and disseminate high quality curriculum and resources;
- support summer and after-school programming for students; and
- facilitate meaningful career exposure and work-based learning opportunities in high-demand fields
K-12 Education in Northern Virginia
With the #1 STEM public, non-charter high school in the country — Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology — and multiple Governor's STEM Academies, the over 300,000 students in NOVA have the academic foundation, the aptitude, and the desire to be leaders in tech.
With the gradual phase-in of the workforce over more than a decade, local school systems will have time to track the growth and factor potential needs into ongoing planning efforts.
The additional revenue and resources that will accompany this project will provide the necessary financing to accommodate long term projections in K-12 school enrollment. The company and communities are committed to focusing on educational assets and the continued support of the region’s exceptional school systems.
The Washington D.C. metro is the country's most educated region, where half of residents 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, and more computer science graduates are produced annually than in any other metropolitan area in the U.S. The metro area also has the country’s third-largest pool of software developers and fourth-largest pool of management and legal professionals.
With the densest concentration of tech talent in the U.S. and the second highest number of tech workers, tech is embedded in the region's DNA. This strong depth of talent cuts across all tech fields, including the most in-demand specialized skills like machine learning, UX/UI design, and hardware engineering. Combining our ability to attract talent with the quality and quantity of students graduating from one of the best public university systems in the country, the region has the talent Amazon needs, now and in the future.
New Investments in Higher Education
The Commonwealth will make significant investments in higher education to meet the tech talent needs of companies throughout the state.
As part of this project, Virginia will expand the tech talent pipeline by investing in the production of an additional 25,000-35,000 new tech degrees over 20 years. Colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth, including George Mason University, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, the University of Virginia, Northern Virginia Community College, and others are expected to participate in this degree expansion.
The Commonwealth also plans investments of up to $375 million for academic space and operational support to increase master's degree production in computer science and related fields in Northern Virginia over the next 20 years. These performance-based, master’s-degree-level investments will be provided on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis for philanthropic funds raised by George Mason University for the expansion of its Arlington campus and by Virginia Tech University for a new graduate-level Innovation Campus to be located in the Alexandria portion of National Landing.
To learn more about the Commonwealth’s planned new investments in higher education, click here.
More information about Virginia Tech’s new Innovation Campus at National Landing can be found here.
Fiscal Impact of HQ NOVA
The economic and fiscal benefits of the Amazon project will be shared throughout the Commonwealth and are expected to result in more than $1.2 billion in new state general fund revenues over the 20-year performance agreement with Amazon, after accounting for all related state obligations.
For more information about the economic and fiscal impacts of the project, click here.
A significant beneficiary of Amazon’s new investment in NOVA will be the region’s small businesses. Retailers, restaurants, contractors, and local service providers derive most of their sales from within the community. Those small businesses will benefit from increased demand from Amazon itself as well as from increased spending associated with Amazon’s employees, both directly and indirectly. They also will benefit from the diversification of our economy that Amazon will catalyze, as the region has been reliant on the federal government for its economic health. Additionally, small tech firms will benefit from the improved attractiveness of Greater Washington as a great place to start and grow a career in tech.
Arlington County Processes
Arlington's proposal aligned with existing County-approved plans, including the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan, the Crystal City Sector Plan, and the approved site and phased development plans for projects like Metropolitan Park and Pen Place. The local community gave input and feedback on the overall vision for the development of the area during the creation and approval of these plans. Community members also had the chance to weigh in on specifics related to infrastructure, parks, open space, and housing.
As with all development projects, now that the project has been announced, any review of the existing approved plans will go through the County's normal planning processes. The Arlington County Board is committed to following all elements included in Arlington's existing Comprehensive Planning, including the Community Energy Plan, the Public Space Master Plan that is nearing completion, and the transportation and housing master plans.
Upcoming meetings will be listed on the County's Amazon project webpage, Engage Arlington webpage, and be publicly advertised through normal channels. In addition, information related to individual transportation project or private development project will be shared on the individual project page off the County's Projects and Planning site.
Arlington is also proceeding with the normal performance agreement process for companies that stand to receive direct financial incentives from the County. The County's Economic Development Incentive (EDI) Agreement is a formal agreement that defines the performance targets and annual reporting requirements for a company to receive a financial incentive. In the coming months, the terms of the EDI Agreement will be negotiated. Once drafted, the EDI agreement will be brought before the County Board for consideration at a public County Board Meeting, no earlier than February 2019. As part of the standard Board Meeting process, the draft agreement will be posted on the County website no later than the Monday of the week of the Saturday Board meeting. Subject to Board approval, the EDI Agreement will then be signed by Amazon, the County, and the Arlington County Industrial Development Authority.
City of Alexandria Processes
Alexandria's proposal aligned with existing City-approved plans, including the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan, the North Potomac Yard and Oakville Triangle Small Area Plans and preliminary development and site plans for Oakville Triangle. The local community gave input and feedback on the overall vision for the development of the area during the creation and approval of these plans. Community members also had the chance to weigh in on specifics related to infrastructure, parks, open space, and housing.
As with all development projects, changes to existing plans and specific site plan and building designs will proceed through the normal planning processes. Upcoming meetings will be posted on the City's website and publicly advertised through normal channels. In addition, information related to individual transportation project or private development project will be shared on the individual project pages on the City's website.
If financial participation in Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus is proposed, Alexandria will proceed with the normal performance agreement process for companies or real estate entities that will receive direct financial incentives from the City, which includes advertisement and docketing at City Council public meetings.